Toronto
2 min

The intolerable orgy

Moralists need to mind their own business

As the sun rises over Berlin on Monday mornings, you can see exhausted leather queens slither out of sex clubs where they’ve spent the entire weekend.



There are few restrictions on serving booze in that city, and in the absence of last call, some bars open after work on Friday, and keep the booze flowing right through till it’s time to go back to work on Monday.



Disciplined weekend warriors rise to the challenge, packing in a couple of days’ worth of non-stop debauchery.



You can pretty much drink and screw whenever and wherever you like in Berlin. Most gay bars have darkrooms, usually in dingy cellars, where anything goes. The spirit of excess is enough to make the most unbridled Canadian libertine blush. Not to worry; it’s too dark for anyone to notice.



I’ve never been a big fan of backrooms in bars. The purposeful mingling of sex and booze can turn ugly when both are embraced with wanton abandon. I’ve seen too many men put themselves into compromising sexual positions because they’re too drunk or stoned to know or care what the fuck’s going on.



But if stupidity were criminal, we’d all be behind bars. People have to learn to take charge of their own behaviour. Education, not legislation, will help.



In Canada, we’re taking itty bitty baby steps away from our rampant over- regulation of sex and drugs. But we are all still big babies as far as the state is concerned, incapable of making our own decisions about our pleasures.



Forced by court decisions, there’s legislation in the works to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, although you could still end up with a ticket; growing and selling will remain illegal.



Last week’s court decision about a Montreal swinging club is being hailed as another example of Canada’s new tolerant attitude. But while the judge okayed partner-swapping in principle, he convicted the owners and some patrons on bawdy-house charges.



Why? Because there was sex in public. Sort of. Although all the sex was had inside the swinging club, some of it took place in open areas like the whirlpool and hallways.



You might think it odd to refer to a private space filled entirely with swingers as public. But unless you’re having sex in a vault, the courts are terribly worried about the trauma which might befall someone with tender sensibilities who stumbles upon your sin.



When nudists were charged at an event at the Barn several years back, the argument was that the bar was open to the public, and an unsuspecting tourist might walk in and be offended at the sight of naked bodies. Simply put, the law coddles prudery.



The swinger judgment merely confirms the dubious legal status of gay bathhouses. If there’s anyone getting a blowjob in the steamroom, you’re all in a bawdy house.



The judge writes decisively that “Canadians do not tolerate orgies or tolerate that other Canadians participate in them.”



What a lot of hooey. Would you like to see my list of activities I can’t tolerate other Canadians participating in? It’s very long. We’d better close all the churches and shopping malls pronto, because I simply cannot abide all that praying and purchasing of cheap merchandise.



The judge’s quote illustrates precisely the problem with our approach to sex and drug legislation in this country. Personal choices about highly personal activities are not permitted, because some other people – meddling prudes, for instance – can’t bear to know that it goes on. Why not just tell them it’s none of their business?



Frighteningly, judges – supposedly the embodiment of fairness and reason – can’t see the injustice, indicating just how deep sex bigotry runs in our culture.



Xtra is embarked on a campaign to rid the land of nonsensical sex laws. You can the latest installment and other stories in the series.